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ANCASTER ROMAN TEMPORARY CAMP

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The cropmark of a Roman temporary camp and a possible road. The cropmarks of a camp on the W crest of a gentle spur that forms the N side of the Ancaster Gap, at about 60 m above OD, were recognised in the drought of 1976. The camp lies near the junction of two natural routes, one linking the basin of the River Trent with the regions about The Wash, and the other, followed by Ermine Street which passed less than 550 m to the E, running from N to S along the limestone ridge. The pre-Flavian Roman fort and later town of Ancaster lay about 600 m to SSE on the valley floor. The siting of the camp clearly took advantage of the panoramic views to the W, SW and to the immediate S; to the N, however, the ground continues to rise to about 80 m above OD. The spur itself creates dead ground immediately to the SE. The camp, which measures just over 400 m from N to S by 282 m transversely, encloses an area of a little under 11.3 ha (28 acres). Its S half has been damaged by the railway cutting and a former quarry, now a rifle range. The position of the SW angle and a hint of a turn in the W end of the N ditch, suggest that the recognition of the W side from the air has been prevented by the almost coincident modern field wall. The probable position of this W ditch occupies the crest of the W side of the spur, and this topography may have dictated the alignment of the whole camp. An interruption in the line of the N side may be a gate, since it occupies a central position. Unfortunately the equivalent point on the S is masked by one of two small quarries now evident only as cropmarks. One of a series of former field boundaries, running N to S and aligned on those surviving N of the railway, meets the ditch of the camp at this point. Other fainter marks may be relatively recent in origin.

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